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For me I look at a page as being more of the template page or type of page. it can have many variations. but it's position in the hierarchy remains fixed. I was thinking yesterday about how the it seems I'm taking an object orientated approach to web design. I have a path of:
home >> product selection >> ProductType >> UniqueProduct
ProductType and UniqueProduct are object pages and might translate to
home >> product selection >> widget >> blue widget
where widget and blue widget are instant pages. I may also have
home >> product selection >> gadgets >> strange gadgets
home >> product selection >> thingamabobs >> twirly thingamabobs
widgets, gadgets and thingamabobs are all the same 'ProductType' page object but different instances of it.
twirly thingamabobs,strange gadgets and blue widget are instances of 'UniqueProduct' page object.
See this recent discussion about how with certain permalink structures, Wordpress can't handle many pages vbefore noticeable slowdowns.
So yes, each page can be viewed as an instance of the template. However, every instance takes memory, DB resources and so on to render. If your tables are inefficient, those lookups get slower and rendering gets slower and beyond a certain number of pages, regardless of actual traffic, things may not scale very well.